The LDAP Data Interchange Format (LDIF) is used to represent LDAP
entries and change records in text form. LDAP tools, such as
ldapadd(1) and ldapsearch(1), read and write LDIF entry records.
ldapmodify(1) reads LDIF change records.
This manual page provides a basic description of LDIF. A formal
specification of LDIF is published in RFC 2849.
LDIF entry records are used to represent directory entries. The
basic form of an entry record is:
dn: <distinguished name>
The value may be specified as UTF-8 text or as base64 encoded data,
or a URI may be provided to the location of the attribute value.
A line may be continued by starting the next line with a single space
or tab, e.g.,
dn: cn=Barbara J Jensen,dc=exam
Lines beginning with a sharp sign ('#') are ignored.
Multiple attribute values are specified on separate lines, e.g.,
cn: Barbara J Jensen
cn: Babs Jensen
If an value contains a non-printing character, or begins with a space
or a colon ':', the <attrtype> is followed by a double colon and the
value is encoded in base 64 notation. e.g., the value " begins with a
space" would be encoded like this:
If the attribute value is located in a file, the <attrtype> is
followed by a ':<' and a file: URI. e.g., the value contained in the
file /tmp/value would be listed like this:
Other URI schemes (ftp,http) may be supported as well.
Multiple entries within the same LDIF file are separated by blank
Here is an example of an LDIF file containing three entries.
dn: cn=Barbara J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
cn: Barbara J Jensen
cn: Babs Jensen
dn: cn=Bjorn J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
cn: Bjorn J Jensen
cn: Bjorn Jensen
dn: cn=Jennifer J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
cn: Jennifer J Jensen
cn: Jennifer Jensen
Note that the description in Barbara Jensen's entry is read from
file:///tmp/babs and the jpegPhoto in Jennifer Jensen's entry is
encoded using base 64.
LDIF change records are used to represent directory change requests.
Each change record starts with line indicating the distinguished name
of the entry being changed:
Finally, the change information itself is given, the format of which
depends on what kind of change was specified above. For a changetype
of modify, the format is one or more of the following:
Or, for a replace modification:
If no attributetype lines are given to replace, the entire attribute
is to be deleted (if present).
Or, for a delete modification:
If no attributetype lines are given to delete, the entire attribute
is to be deleted.
For a changetype of add, the format is:
For a changetype of modrdn or moddn, the format is:
deleteoldrdn: 0 | 1
where a value of 1 for deleteoldrdn means to delete the values
forming the old rdn from the entry, and a value of 0 means to leave
the values as non-distinguished attributes in the entry. The
newsuperior line is optional and, if present, specifies the new
superior to move the entry to.
For a changetype of delete, no additional information is needed in
Note that attribute values may be presented using base64 or in files
as described for entry records. Lines in change records may be
continued in the manner described for entry records as well.
The LDIF parser has been extended to support an include statement for
referencing other LDIF files. The include statement must be
separated from other records by a blank line. The referenced file is
specified using a file: URI and all of its contents are incorporated
as if they were part of the original LDIF file. As above, other URI
schemes may be supported. For example:
This feature is not part of the LDIF specification in RFC 2849 but is
expected to appear in a future revision of this spec. It is supported
by the ldapadd(1), ldapmodify(1), and slapadd(8) commands.
This page is part of the OpenLDAP (an open source implementation of
the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) project. Information
about the project can be found at ⟨http://www.openldap.org/⟩. If you
have a bug report for this manual page, see
⟨http://www.openldap.org/its/⟩. This page was obtained from the
project's upstream Git repository
⟨git://git.openldap.org/openldap.git⟩ on 2017-03-13. If you discover
any rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you
believe there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or
you have corrections or improvements to the information in this
COLOPHON (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail
OpenLDAP LDVERSION RELEASEDATE LDIF(5)